Listening to J Roddy and the Business is like stepping into a time machine fueled by cocaine and moonshine.
Listening to J Roddy and the Business is like stepping into a time machine fueled by cocaine and moonshine. One part Jerry Lee Lewis and several parts 70’s Southern Rock, Roddy and Co, a project born in TN but relocated to Richmond, offers good times with a serious message and piano skills that will make your beard curl.
Formed in 2002 by J. Roddy Walston on vocals, piano and guitar, the band has dropped three full studio albums with a number of EPs sprinkled in between (including 2014’s “Heavy Bells.)
While the albums recall nostalgic sounds and vibes, they’ve built a better rep for their powerful, high energy live show which puts the band’s leading man front and center atop his 300 LB Yamaha CP-60 stand up piano.
The only thing that moves faster than Walston’s long brown locks are his fingers as he pounds out pop-rock melodies with a level of dirty southern charm only found in RVA.
“We’ve always been that band stuck in the dark corner of a warehouse banging out songs,” said Logan Davis, bassist for the band since 2011. A Richmond-native, Davis and Walston have spent the last three, years since the release of 2013’s Essential Tremors, hard at work building a new recording space to call their own.
Located in Scott’s Addition, The location is a return to the dark corner the band has always preferred. It was also in a heavy state of disrepair when they rented it out.
“Our landlord said ‘I don’t think you hippies can do anything with it but give you a shot,’” Davis said referring to the entire band’s lengthy manes.
And while converting the raw space proved to be a challenge, the band members got to work setting up walls, rigging electric cable and installing an AC system. Luckily, their label, ATO records, has been supportive through it all.
They also learned a lot from recording sessions in the past – on the last record they worked with Mark Neill, a famed studio engineer who specializes in classic analog sound. And while the experience was educational, they were worried they lost some of their dirty edge working in such a traditional recording space.
“There’s a little bit of adapting what you are [in a studio],” Davis said, where as the new studio gave them plenty of chances to toy around. “This has been great to be able to say “what if”… we’ve had time to explore those options.”
The final product is a new record set for release sometime next year. But your chance to hear some new tracks happens this weekend, Saturday night at The National.
It’ll be one of the first shows in the area in almost a year – a rare treat for fans and newcomers alike. And with the holiday around the corner, they’ve got a few seasonal surprises in the works.
Good friends (and another RVAMag favorite) Sleepwalkers plan to make an appearance involving a Christmas song or two, and Walston’s wife, a trained opera singer, will haul ass from the Carpenter Center after her gig there the same night and make a cameo or two to provide some classically trained pipes into the mix.
You’ve still got time to snag tickets here, so don’t be square and head on out to the National Saturday.